HOUR OF GREAT MERCY

Divine Mercy

Dedicated to the memory of my mother,  Anna Miele Fallacara, on Divine Mercy Sunday,  April 3, in the Jubilee Year of Mercy 2016.

“At three o’clock, implore My mercy, especially for sinners,” Jesus told St. Maria Faustina Kowalska in a vision. “This is the hour of great mercy….In this hour I will refuse nothing to the soul that makes a request of Me in virtue of My Passion….In this hour you can obtain everything for yourself and for others for the asking; it was the hour of grace for the whole world — mercy triumphed over justice.”

At 3:00 p.m. daily, all those gathered in the perpetual adoration chapel of my parish fulfill Our Lord’s request by reciting the Chaplet of Divine Mercy for the sick and dying, often called “the 3 o’clock prayer.” For many  months, my mother and I had been keeping a holy hour together once a week from 2:00 – 3:00 p.m  We cherished this weekly vigil, sitting and praying quietly side-by-side in the peaceful atmosphere of the chapel. Since both of us had read Divine Mercy in My Soul (The Diary of St. Faustina), and often prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet, we gladly stayed the extra ten minutes to recite it for the sick and dying at 3:00 p.m.

One terrible afternoon in January 2002 found my mother and me together in a different type of vigil. But this time, the harsh sterility and bustling activity of the hospital’s Surgical Trauma Unit replaced the soft light and peaceful hush of the chapel. Although my mother and I were physically only a foot or two apart, the gulf between us seemed to me unfathomable.

Mom lay motionless and unconscious in a hospital bed, surrounded by tubes and a complex array of blinking, beeping machines. She was dying of complications following emergency surgery to repair a ruptured abdominal aortal aneurysm. Amazingly, she had survived the four-hour operation, but the massive amounts of blood she had lost made it impossible to stabilize her. I sat at her bedside, my eyes glued to readouts on the machine that monitored her heartbeat and blood pressure. The rosary clutched in my hand was my only weapon against the icy grip of fear and despair that grew tighter as it became increasingly clearer to me that all the heroic efforts of the medical team were not going to save my beloved mother. With each agonizing minute, my prayers were changing gradually from a hopeful plea for healing to the prayer of Gethsemane: “Not my will, but Yours be done.”

My mother and I had always shared a deep spiritual bond and had often discussed the afterlife. Neither of us feared death itself, but we had the natural apprehension about what form it would take and the suffering that might precede it. I knew that my mother was spiritually ready to face God, and since she had already been given Last Rites, the one remaining gift I could give this woman who had given me so much was to let her go.

“It’s alright, Mom, ” I told her silently. “If it’s your time to go Home, you go ahead and don’t worry. I won’t hold you back — I want you to be happy.”

My mother died at 3:20 that afternoon. Although I was too overcome with grief to think about it at the time, I later realized that she had passed into eternity during the Hour of Great Mercy, just minutes after the adorers at my parish’s chapel would have finished praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy for the sick and dying. The same prayers my mother and I had recited so many times for other souls in need had come back to us, easing my mother’s transition into the next life and giving me the strength to accept and bear the greatest loss of my life. Furthermore, I was grateful that my mother had been spared the painful and lingering death she had always feared.

For several years afterward I still kept my weekly hour in the chapel, although the first few times there without my mother were so painful I couldn’t even bear to sit in the same place I used to sit with her. But now, every time I say the Divine Mercy Chaplet at 3:00 p.m. for the sick and dying, it is much more meaningful to me than it was before her death.

Now when I pray, I see images in my mind of families gathered around sickbeds, keeping vigil with a loved one they can’t bear to lose but know they must let go; of souls closing their eyes to darkness and opening them to a Light so brilliant their sufferings fall away like dying leaves. I see people whose time on earth is not yet through, gaining strength of body and mind through the healing energy of a stranger’s prayers.

With a certainty that surpasses understanding, I know that all souls are connected in ways more profound and mysterious than we can ever imagine. I feel reassured that each one of us praying the Chaplet will be blessed with the same sustaining light of God for which we are offering ourselves as channels today.

I sense my mother’s presence with me and I recall Our Lord’s words to St. Faustina: “Encourage souls to say the Chaplet which I have given to you….Whoever will recite it will receive great mercy at the hour of death….When they say this chaplet in the presence of the dying, I will stand between My Father and the dying person, not as the Just Judge but as the Merciful Savior….”

As the Chaplet ends, I silently add St. Faustina’s prayer of praise: “Divine Mercy, embracing us especially at the hour of death, I trust in You.”

(For more information on Divine Mercy, visit: http://www.thedivinemercy.org/message/devotions/chaplet.php)

Mom - stuido photo

My beautiful mother

 

8 thoughts on “HOUR OF GREAT MERCY

  1. Yes, your beautiful mother! If we believe and Gloria I know you do, Jesus was there in his Mercy for your mom. Since Jesus is “outside of time,” I have been going to the Chapel to offer a Chaplet of Divine Mercy for each of my loved ones as if said on their deathbed at their hour of death. It is very comforting and reassuring. Thank you for yours and your mother’s Devotion to the 3 o’clock Prayer. I trust it has helped many Souls!

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  2. How beautiful! I just finished watching the services for the Feast of the Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, MA and say the Chaplet of Divine Mercy daily.

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  3. Such a painful day to remember, the passing of daerest Aunt Anna, as was the day of my mom’s passing. Thank you for remembering my mom as you wrote this passage, Gloria. I believe my mom, as well as the faithful prayers of those of us who loved her, had a hand in helping yours through this transition and that they have been peaceful and content in each other’s loving company ever since, along with their sister, our wonderful Aunt Hilda and all of our dearly departed loved ones. My mom passed on Good Friday, which gave her (and your mom) such great comfort knowing that she was going to Heaven on that blessed day. Thank you for your inspirational writings and for your prayers, Gloria! I will add this chaplet to my own list of prayers for those facing the hour of their passing into eternity.

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    • Thank you for reading and for your wonderful, encouraging comments. I do like to think of our mothers, aunts, grandmothers, and all our relatives together on the Other Side, watching over us and waiting to greet us someday.

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  4. Rachel Ranosa

    I stumbled upon your article today after asking the Lord this question: where do our prayers go? Like you, I pray the Chaplet with my family, and it has strengthened our bond. But recently some events in my life have led me to ask whether, in the silence of my prayers, He even hears me, my petitions, and whether I should keep at this when it seems my prayers aren’t being answered. But I found your story – this is His answer to me.

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